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The Government of Pakistan: Halt the repression of Baloch political activists

The Government of Pakistan: Halt the repression of Baloch political activists

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This petition has been created by Ziyad F. and may not represent the views of the Avaaz community.
Ziyad F.
started this petition to
The Government of Pakistan
We are shocked at the discovery of mass graves at Khuzdar, Balochistan on the 25th of January, 2014. The site held decomposed bodies of Baloch activists who had gone ‘missing’ when abducted by the Pakistani intelligence agencies. This event is part of the ongoing tragedy that has been unfolding in Balochistan since the start of a brutal military operation launched in the province almost a decade ago. According to human rights organizations, hundreds of Baloch activists have been kidnapped and tortured by the Pakistani intelligence apparatus, with some estimates putting the number of missing persons as high as 18,000.

A number of Baloch activists, led by Mama Qadeer and Farzana Majeed, have embarked on a historic Long March across Pakistan to raise awareness about the missing persons. While the government is willing to negotiate with religious extremists who have accepted responsibility for killing hundreds of innocent Pakistani civilians, these peaceful marchers are routinely threatened by the state and are facing censorship by the Pakistani press. Despite these hurdles, they are continuing the March with breathtaking steadfastness and have been welcomed by progressive, democratic and popular forces in Sindh and Punjab.

We demand that the Pakistani government put an immediate halt to the military operations in Balochistan, recover the missing Baloch activists, compensate the aggrieved families and punish the officials and agencies responsible for these atrocities. In this regard, we recommend the formation of a judicial commission tasked specifically with investigating the killings and repression of political activists in Balochistan.

We request all democratic and progressive forces around the world to put pressure on the Pakistani government to end its brutal policy toward Balochistan. We ask them to hold their own governments accountable for continuing to provide diplomatic and material support to the Pakistani state, in particular the military. We also call upon the Pakistani media to end its unfortunate silence over Balochistan, to stop caving in to fear of the Pakistani security establishment and to give adequate coverage to the Long March, which has now entered Punjab.

We demand that the Pakistani state recognize the right of the Baloch people to absolute political, economic and cultural autonomy. The failure to provide such safeguards in 1971 was the primary reason for the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan. We condemn the continuation of the same repressive policies towards the Baloch and other marginalized groups by the Pakistani state.

Finally, we express complete solidarity with Mama Qadeer and all of the Voice of the Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) activists, who are reminding us what it means to live with steadfastness under oppression. In the past few days, the participants of the VBMP Long March to Islamabad have come under increasingly alarming threat. We deplore such threats, and call on the Pakistani state to protect the Baloch people who demand their right to live in freedom and dignity.